Mum Erin Johns with bub and children Sienna, 4, and Jack, 2, at Emerald Hospital.
Mum Erin Johns with bub and children Sienna, 4, and Jack, 2, at Emerald Hospital. Lindsey Jackson

Harry in too much of a hurry

HARRY Johns wasn’t waiting a minute longer to arrive for his mum and dad last week when he popped out in the back of an ambulance on the way to Emerald Hospital from Tieri.

Erin and Gerard Johns were very happy to welcome the new 3370g edition to the family, even considering the scare impatient little Harry gave them and the impromptu circumstances.

Arriving two weeks before Erin’s due date, the new mum said her third birth was “very quick” and that the family was meant to be heading to Mackay the next day to prepare for her labour there.

“I rang the ambulance just before 10pm and he was born by 11pm,” she said.

“I’m just lucky I have a sister who lives in Dysart who could look after the kids.”

Sienna, 4, and Jack, 2, were very excited to see their baby brother for the first time, with smiles from ear to ear at the new bundle of joy.

Erin and Gerard moved to Tieri from Mackay in October, and she said expecting a baby in the remote town was actually quite scary.

“It’s very scary, you just have to be prepared and have a plan,” she said.

“I’m just lucky I have had good births. I don’t know what would have happened if something went wrong.

“This is the last one though,” she added with a laugh.

“I’m getting too old for this.”

To add to the drama of hasty Harry’s arrival, Erin said Gerard was still at work at the time.

He made a mercy dash to be with Erin and was by her side to cut the baby’s cord at the roadside birth, 1km outside Capella.

For Tieri firie and volunteer ambulance driver, Mal Taylor, and the town’s lone paramedic, Bryan Keith, the experience left them smiling for the rest of the night and the following day.

“I’ve driven the ambulance plenty of times and there’s always a little bit of heartache and distress involved with people, so it’s a good turnaround to have a happy ending,” Mal said.

The father of three boys, aged six to 14 years, wasn’t afraid to admit he had a lump in his throat when he heard the baby let out his first lusty cries.

“When you hear that first cry it really tears at the heartstrings and I really hadn’t thought about it for six years until I heard the little one, so it was a good feeling to help in a small way,” Mal said.

For Bryan, a Kiwi with 12 years experience who came to Tieri 14 months ago, it was his eighth delivery in transit on both sides of the Tasman.

It was a happy diversion from the station’s “bread and butter” mining injuries involving hands and arms, and kids with cuts, abrasions and fevers.

Bryan said most expectant mothers in town left early to have their babies at coastal hospitals, although another trip to Emerald hospital in recent months was successful with mum and bub holding on until they arrived.

“This baby was due June 16 so I was quite happy at 38 weeks to proceed… and the baby didn’t appear to be in any distress from the start,” he said.

“You’re a bit anxious waiting, then baby starts to take that breath and cry and it is a relief.

“We go to a lot of people who are critically injured and to be able to deliver a baby, which we don’t do all the time, makes my day – it makes my week.

“It’s always a great feeling when there are no complications.”

Bryan believes it is important for pregnant women in smaller towns like Tieri to have confidence in their paramedic and volunteer drivers.

“The public can rely on us out here and not jump in a car and drive 150kmh in a rush to hospital,” he said.

“We are capable of handling these types of cases.

“Last (Thursday) was just a reminder this is one of the best jobs in the world.

“Emotions just like that are why I love to be here and do this job.

“It’s a good feeling and you do get a rush when baby’s crying and breathing and mum’s healthy.”

While Erin rang the Tieri station number to alert Bryan to her contractions being three minutes apart, he wanted to impress on people the correct procedure was to ring Triple Zero.

“I advised Erin to hang up and call Triple Zero so the job could be logged properly,” he said.

Erin returned home with Harry last Friday.


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